PNB scam: Odisha to review Gitanjali group's Rs 6-bn jewellery park project

Mehul Choksi
The Odisha government will review the Gitanjali group's Rs 6.36 billion project to set up a gem, jewellery, lifestyle and luxury goods park in the state following the involvement of the jewellery behemoth in the Rs 114 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.

The project was to be set up by Gitanjali Infratech, a part of the Mumbai-based Gitanjali group, on 100 acres land at Ramdaspur near Cuttack, and it had received approval of the state government in November, last year.

"Following the revelation of Gitanjali group's involvement in the PNB fraud case, we have decided to review the project", said a top official of the Odisha government.


He said, out of 100 acres earmarked for the gems, jewellery park, 30 acres had been allotted to the company for which it had made necessary payment to Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco).

Gitanjali group chairman and managing director, Mehul Choksi along with his nephew Nirav Modi are accused of defrauding PNB to the tune of Rs 114 billion.

"The work on the park is yet to take off. We can always review it and if necessary, scrap it", said the state government official.


The proposed components in the jewellery park, which was first of its kind in the state, included cutting and polishing the precious and semi-precious diamond, designing and manufacturing of gold, silver, platinum and diamond jewellery, manufacturing of fashion and lifestyle products, retail centres and export houses.


According to the plan, industrial processing facilities were planned on 60.03 acres, including 30.80 acres being designated as anchor's plot for Gitanjali's own units and marketing brands. The remaining 29.23 acres was to be leased out to other processing units of the diamond polishing and jewellery manufacturing sector.


The company proposed to bring in its associates and promoters like Asmi, Nakshatra, GILI, Sangini, Nirvana, Kairana, Valente, Viola to the park.

The total employment potential of the project was estimated at 15,000 persons in a span of 7 years. In the first phase spanning two years, 4,000 people were to be employed with 5,500 more being engaged in the second phase in the next three years. In the third phase, job opportunity for 6,500 people would be created, the original proposal said.

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